This morning we find ourselves back in El Salvador with Rosalind Coffee Co’s Monte Verde Honey. I really enjoyed their Jade Espresso and this coffee is supposed to work as both nor and espresso, so I’ll be back on the espresso machine again this morning to share additional thoughts with you! Rosalind has an interesting back story, so check out the links below as well as the Jade Espresso review for more of the story on this roaster/cafe!
ROSALIND COFFEE CO. MONTE VERDE HONEY
This morning’s coffee from Rosalind Coffee Company is their Monte Verde Honey from El Salvador. This is a mix of Red and Yellow Bourbon grown at Monte Verde around 1150-1400masl near San Salvador. This is a honey process coffee, which is sort of a hybrid between washed/wet processed coffee and natural/dry process coffee. Using this process, the cherries are picked and sorted and then partially depulped (skins are broken and some of the sticky, sugary mucilage surrounding the coffee beans inside is removed). With some amount of the mucilage still covering the beans, they are spread out onto raised beds and dried. This process is supposed to give some of the sweetness, body and fruitiness associated with a natural process coffee but also cause less fermentation, resulting in a cleaner cup like a washed coffee. To me, honeys generally taste like washed coffees, although I’ve never done tastings to see if I could pick them out blindly (I’m thinking I couldn’t, but you never know!).
Rosalind gives us tasting notes of, “Butterscotch, almond, Pink Lady apple” for this coffee. I used my standard pourover setup to prepare my cups, using a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Kalita 185 filters. I used a Handground grinder set to 3 and Third Wave Water for brewing. My brew time, with a 30 second bloom, came to about 3:45 total.
This is a medium-bodied coffee with tons of almond nuttiness in the flavor. I do get a little butterscotch candy up front and in the middle of the sip, too. The acidity is quite light in this cup and it’s definitely a malic acidity associated with apples, so it’s pretty mellow and is hard to separate from an apple-like sweetness, too. This is a sweet, clean cup, for sure! As a pourover, there really isn’t much more to this coffee than that, for me. It’s a simple cup with clear, clean, straightforward flavors and it has nice balance, lots of sweetness and is totally enjoyable! If you’re looking for a study in complexity, this isn’t it, but it’s a very good, easy drinking coffee that I found delicious.
Dual-use coffees are always fun to drink to compare and contrast the two styles of brewing. My espresso setup is simple, but it gets the job done and I’ve been using this machine for 10 years with good results. Nothing fancy:
- Gaggia Espresso – this is an early 2000’s model, low-end machine but it has a real 58mm portafilter and the same internals as Gaggia’s more expensive machines. No 3-way valve, no adjustable pressure profiling, just a simple, easy home machine. Only modification is that I switched the aluminum shower screen holder for a heavy brass one
- Aftermarket bottomless portafilter – always helpful to see how extraction is going and look for poor tamping practices
- Decent Espresso 58mm precision 20g basket and matched precision, calibrated (to a 20lb tamp pressure) tamper
- Rancilio Rocky doserless grinder
- Third Wave Water (espresso formulation)
It only took me two shots to get nicely dialed in and I actually enjoyed both shots, although one was much more balanced and “correct” than the other, which was overly intense:
- First shot used 20.0g of Monte Verde Honey on setting “7” on the Rocky. I pulled basically a ristretto and ended up with 25.6g of coffee in the cup in 30 seconds. This was very almond and had intense lemon acidity. It had a bit of saltiness to the shot, too, and while I liked the flavors I was getting, this was a bit of a face-melter and it was overly intense.
- For this shot I opened up the grinder to 8 and used 20.1g of coffee. I had a yield of 38.3g of coffee in 27 seconds. This produced a shaving cream-like crema consistency and the coffee was less intense, but in this case that’s a good thing. Still lots of lemon acidity, but it was a lot more mellow. Almond and Granny Smith apple notes in this cup and there was way more balance and it was a lot more palatable shot due to the dialed-back intensity. Oddly for such a light coffee, this left a roasty aftertaste on my palate several minutes after the shot.
Overall, a very nice shot, especially thinned out to more of a 1:2 ratio normale style pull. This is a good all-rounder for sure, and for the record I revisited this coffee as both pourover and espresso about 4-5 weeks off-roast and it was still really good and still pulled a really nice shot!